Tag Archives: food

Is that Alder is?

“Is that Alder is?” A review of Alder.

By, Wolf

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So, I took Yutzi’s son, Robbie, out for his 50th birthday.  Why it was up to me instead of Yutzi is another story for another time…though I can tell you Aqueduct was involved.

Anyway, much to my dismay, the kid cancelled our reservation at Benihana.  Which is too bad, because I had a slew of new material involving Dr. Wang, the fastest circumcision doctor in the Orient.  Instead, the ingrate re-booked us at some “gastropub” named Alder. First off, what’s a “gastropub?”  That sounds like something I need a helmet for.

Actually, what I needed was to pack a lunch.  You know why this place is called Alder?  Because you’ll look at your plate and ask, “is that all-der is?” I’ve had more generous portions at Prison Camp #4 in North Korea.

Let me finger paint you a picture- we started by ordering the $24 halibut to share, “One of the larger dishes,” our sweet little waitress assured us.   What arrived was a tiny portion of halibut, about the size of two of Robbie’s ladylike fingers, served *in* one of their larger dishes.  Maybe I misheard?  Robbie thought it was “cute.”  Kid, if cute fed the world, we’d all be eating panda cubs and babies’ butts.

Next up was the rye pasta. “It tastes just like pastrami on rye but it’s pasta! It’s fun,” exclaimed our waitress, who I was beginning to think might be stupid. If I wanted pastrami on rye, I’d go to that place in the Lower East Side where the old lady rubbed one out in that movie. But Robbie insisted, and whatever the birthday boy wants, the birthday boy gets- so I farted. It’s the gift that keeps on giving!  The gas passed just as the busboy dropped off what was by far the largest dish on the menu, a fistful of pasta resting on three pieces of shaved pastrami. We slurped and fought over the third piece of meat like animals with forks.  And guess what? It tasted just like pastrami on rye. Except it was smaller and more expensive.  I’m waiting for the restaurant that serves you an empty plate for 50 semolians.  Mark my word, the day is coming!

I contemplated turning the chef in to the The House Committee on Un-American Activities for devising a menu of American food with Communist ingredients, such as ‘pigs in a blanket’ made with Chinese sausage.  Good thing for him the “Bay of Pigs in a Blanket” were delicious, unlike the most insipid dish of the evening: pickled beets. Even the waitress’s enthusiasm waned when we ordered it. There’s nothing much to say about this dish… other than charging $14 for half a beet, a dash of ricotta, and some freeze dried green thing takes balls.   Remember that guy that just free-fell twenty thousand feet out of an airplane recently?  Those sized balls.

We ended our meal with a dessert, the peanut butter cake with black grape sorbet. I can feel my dick going limp just describing it.  The cake was a gussied up version of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup surrounded by a satanic circle of grapes and marble-sized scoop of ice-scream. But what did I care? Robbie was happy. He blew out his birthday candle and I farted- hey, it’s a gastropub.

Address:

157 Second Avenue
Between 9th and 10th Streets
New York, NY 10003

212-539-1900

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True Grits

SCRATCH BREAD
by the Actress

Everyone is given to decadence, even, dear reader, someone as refined as moi. You see, I’m currently convalescing (owing to a traumatic manicure where upon the manicurist launched the Tet-offensive on my cuticles) with my niece in, well, it’s quite embarrassing to admit, but, Brooklyn! And not Roebling’s Brooklyn, but the Brooklyn of some deceased, corpulent baritone named Biggie Smalls who was the 90’s Primo Uomo of rap-opera; plus a very popular fellow named Jay-Z , who I believe is the founder of a brand of exercise pants.

Since  my niece has warned against leaving her apartment at the Beyonce Pillow Factory Lofts, lest I be attacked by pitbulls, all food must be delivered…by her, since she refuses to hire my caterer! For the love of god, the idea of a strange man on a bike delivering my food…I’d order Chinese if I wanted that!  It’s bad enough that she uses wire coat hangers to hang my mink and orders in ethnic cuisine, but she insists on serving my meals on flatware by IKEA – which I believe is Swedish for Hitler-ware – instead of my beautiful 19th-Century Wedgwood China! Something about lead paint…in my day we ate lead for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

Well this morning I awoke at 7am on my niece’s hideous futon (she doesn’t know this but I just ordered a velvet, clawfoot couch off  something called Craigslist and the nice man on the phone offered to throw in something called “Cleveland steaming” for free).  I was ravished and in the mood for some good-old antebellum-style Southern cooking, with lard and none of that vegan silliness the North seems to insist on. Speaking of vegan food, on the set of “The Cattle Queen of Montana,” Ronald Reagan threatened to report the caterers to the House on Un-American Activities for serving vegetables, and ever since then he’s had my vote in every election.  I don’t see why 2012 should be any different.

My niece assured me this would not be a problem and ran out to fetch my breakfast at Scratch Bread, a breakfast stand at the end of her street.

She returned with a brown paper cup full of grits, hard boiled egg, mayo and one piece of bacon floating in a pool of butter. I sniffed,  scooped, then tipped the deliciousness down my throat. I wiped my mouth with a silk napkin because I’m a lady, rifted discreetly and promptly fell back to sleep.

Scratch Bread, 1069 Bedford Avenue  Brooklyn, NY 11216

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Requiem for an affordable lobster roll

By Yutzi.

Ah Labor Day…it meant so much more when I was still a working stiff.

Instead, your correspondent, Yutzi, found himself on the coast of our beloved New Hampshire enjoying that last meal of summer: the lobster roll.

But you know what really sticks in my claw?  You see what I did there?  Claw?  Marvelous…Anyway, can anyone tell me why you can’t find a goddamn lobster roll for under twenty bucks?  WHY?

Back in Yutzi’s heyday, the lobster roll was considered the poor man’s turkey sandwich. With only three low-rent ingredients- hot dog bun, lobster and mayo- even a flappy-armed lunch lady could slap one together and call it a meal for five clams.

So, how do these three humble ingredients now end up being $19.99? Well, I spent the last week investigating and have found the causes of inflation:

1. Using more than three ingredients…stick the the script, you bunch of tutu-wearers.

2. Something called Himalayan pink salt…I think my last escort used that in her bathwater, or was that her name?

3. Acts of oxymoronic, culinary delusion: artisan hot dog bun, organic lobster, gourmet mayonnaise.  For the sake of my sanity, can someone point me to an inorganic lobster?

4. McDonald’s no longer serves the McLobster. Boy, oh boy, were those the best!  If the Hamburgler needed a lobster-lovin’ sidekick, sign me right up!

So there you have it. The beloved lobster roll is no longer affordable to anyone without a beret or a mustache. So, like your white shoes after labor day, say good-bye and order a peanut butter and jelly sandwich before those too fall into the greasy subway-pole hands of beatniks and hipster youth and set you back twenty bucks.  Yeesh.

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Beauty and the Beef

BEAUTY & ESSEX
by WOLF

I’d picked the Actress up at LaGuardia – she had just returned from her bi-annual exhaustion retreat  – and she said there’s a place she simply insisted on trying.

We arrive in the Lower East Side to a big sign reading “Beauty & Essex” in bright bulb lettering that looks like it was previously on the set of “The Price Is Right.”  So, already, I’m thinking “classy joint!”

With my date by my side we stride in and see… a wall of guitars?  I look around and notice a bunch of jewelry in the window.  How on earth did we end up at a pawn shop?  I think Yutzi previously sold a sword at this place.

The lady behind the counter quickly sensed my confusion and asked if we have reservations, and pointed us to a back door.

We walk in, and man is this place swank.  Luxurious chandeliers, spiral staircases, lovely…what are those couches called… banquets?  Ah, that doesn’t sound right.

Anyway, whatever they’re called, they’re filled to the brim with dames in short skirts and high heels, surrounded by strapping men in fine blazers.  I can already feel my wallet crying in agony.

Before getting sat, I take a gander at the drink menu…14 dollars for a cocktail!  I order up an “Old Dirty Bramble”, whatever that means, as the Actress goes downstairs to powder her schnoz.  The bartender was friendly, and makes a mean drink.  Mulled smoked blackberries?  I’m loving life.

We get sat, right as my date returned from the can with a glass of pink champagne, which she said was handed to her by a bathroom attendant.   I ran downstairs to see if they were doling out bourbon in the little boy’s room, but nothing doing.

Anyway, this was also a bit of foreshadowing, because I’m pretty sure most of the food came from the toilet too.

Godammit! Wrong photo…

First let’s talk about my appetizer.  I had no idea Hormel made carpaccio.  This flavorless batch of commodity meat was enhanced with what I think was crunched up Funyuns and leafy greens from a Chia pet, and served up to a sucker like me for $15.

Then came the Thai-influenced lobster pot pie, which was served in a crock pot that looked like a poodle’s dog bowl.  I dig in and the whole top crust comes off like it was a manhole cover.  Now, I admit they were generous with the chunks of the good stuff, but for 25 smackaroos, I want to see a lobster doing a goddamn backstroke in here.  Instead I’m trawling through bisque like the Gorton’s Fisherman for any meaty morsel I can find, even though its so heavily infused with lemongrass, you’d think the recipe called for Pledge.  Cheapskates didn’t even put crust at the bottom of the pie, just the giant confessional wafer at the top.  Meanwhile, the Actress made about 7 trips to the bathroom.

Walking out I finally ask The Actress how we ended up at this ridiculous place.  She said it was recommended to her by the stewardess on her flight.  She said it was “trendy” and that Kim Kardashan likes to go here.  Is that that broad with the big ass?  Ay yi yi, I’d let her pound my carpaccio.

Anyway, the lesson here, folks: don’t take advice on restaurants from a person who passes out bags of peanuts for a living.

Beauty & Essex, 146 Essex St., New York, NY

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AMTRAK NORTHEAST #186 DINING CAR

By THE ACTRESS

Yutzi’s son Robbie invited me to weekend with his theater troupe in Boston.  Let me tell you those kids could learn a thing or two about acting from someone of my talent and ability.  But do they ever ask?  Of course not.  Did I ever tell you about my time with James Dean? Well, I won’t because I’m a lady.

But I must say, I was so very excited for a real New England clambake. Finally, cultivated people, fresh brewed iced tea, and Nantucket at nightfall. But no, Robbie, that scalawag, spirited me away to a lobster pound in Seabrook, NH and instead of an acting troupe, my companions were none other than his outré father Yutzi and his crony, Wolf.

As we walked to the train station, Robbie assured me the food was top notch at Brown’s Lobster Pound. Lobster Pound?  Was this one of those Jewish delis? I thought only the gentiles were allowed to vacation in New England? But it gets worse. The lobster pound is one mile away from a nuclear power plant. “Not to worry,” said Robbie, while I gagged on the thought of air redolent of low tide and low people, “if there is a meltdown we can take solace in the fact that our last meal was spent with splendid company.” I listened then slapped him across the face.

We finally reached the station. Could someone please tell me when the grand train stations of my youth were remade into public urinals? I forced Robbie to carry me across the puddles of ill-repute. He gingerly put me down in front of the coach class car. Coach? I was horrified and screamed at Robbie –  You mean to tell me that we are not traveling first class! I was appalled. That brute had booked us in steerage.  I was forced to sit amongst the commoners in poly-blend suits, ripped jeans and some ghastly, shapeless footwear that Robbie said was all the rage: UGG Boots.  These vagrants looked like homeless Eskimos.

Meanwhile, Wolf and Yutzi’s perfume of Ivory soap, Old Spice, and stale jokes brought on a sudden bout of nausea.  I begged Robbie to escort me to the dining car. With one hand in Robbie’s and the other clutching my purse to my chest  in case one of these cretins decided to push me into the bathroom and give me a Frank Sinatra,  I told Robbie, who is really a sissy-boy, to light a fire under his tight trousers and get a move on.

Once we reached the dining car I was forced to rest from the physical and mental exhaustion of the one car walk. I ordered Robbie to fetch me a packet of saltines, but he returned with a hot dog.  A hot dog? What am I, six years old? Is this a baseball contest? I surveyed the menu in dismay. Did the stock market crash again? Where was the champagne? Where were the waiters? My choices were limited to deli sandwiches, chips, soda, and coffee.  I waved away the menu, took the hot dog to use as a weapon and proceeded back to my seat while Robbie stayed to flirt with the help.

Oh, wait. I was supposed to review the lobster pound. That will just have to wait until next week.

Amtrak Northeast Regional, Penn Station, 393 7th Ave., New York, NY

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MANHATTAN INN

by WOLF

Okay, first off, why is every restaurant in this town so damn narrow?  I can barely get past the front door of this place, when I’m set upon by the white version of the black nerd from that one show, goddamnit, what was that show?  Anyway, it turns out Four-Eyes is the host.  Shouldn’t a classy-looking joint like this have a host-ESS?  Give me something with gams if I’m going to pay these prices.  I tell this schmendrick “party of one” and I thought he was going to have to whip out a sliderule, by the looks of it.

I’m whisked to the back room, where, the first thing I see is a big white piano…and a big white guy playing it!  I couldn’t believe it but there he was, boogieing and woogieing non-stop, stomping his foot on the floorboards like he was trying to put out a fire.  I have expected the wait staff to start doing the Lindy Hop.

Meanwhile, my host helpfully escorted me to my seat in the mezzanine.  He was a nice kid, so I’ll stop busting his balls.  Mind you, my seat is an old theater seat, and I think my table was a school desk once.  I remember crawling under these things for bomb drills!

I grab a cocktail menu and the first thing I see is a drink called the “French Future.”  Hey barkeep: how many shots of surrender are in that?  I decided to play it safe and get an Old Fashion.  Smooth!  I’m now sipping in style and enjoying the tunes.

Although, a couple of songs towards the end of the first set sounded a little macabre.  I fllipped a quarter into his jar as he was wrapping up and asked him who composed his last song.  He said it was by a fellow named Kurt Cobain.  Well, don’t quit your day job, Mr. Cobain.

I returned to my seat just in time for the hamburger I ordered.  I sure as hell wasn’t paying $9 for no grilled cheese sandwich!  What are they making the cheese with unicorn milk?  Yeesh.  Anyway, my burger comes, and I immediately have mixed feelings about what I’ve purchased.

On the plus side, it’s practically a towering beef-ferno, a big glorious ball of cow nestled snugly in a stately bun, served up chop house style on a stately butcher board.  The burger was so tall, I thought I was going to have to be Dagwood to eat it.

But what’s this?  BEAN SPROUTS?  What kind of PINKO puts bean sprouts on a perfectly good burger?  But there they were, sitting on top of the meat like a hippy girl’s unshaved pits.

I looked around, though, as burger after burger came out of the kitchen.  Popular item.  When in Rome, as they saying goes, so my chompers went to work.

Friends, I was not disappointed.  Salty and brown on the outside, gloriously pink in the middle, with chunks of bacon worth going to war for.  To be honest, I didn’t even mind the bean sprouts!  If nothing else, now I don’t have to floss tonight.

The piano player returned, and I’m enjoying my meal and tapping my toes.  I was in such good spirits, I ordered a Manhattan, and then things really got cooking.  I asked our waitress if she’d like to waltz, but she said was busy.  So, I decided to break the ice myself…why don’t young people like to dance?  Our piano player pounded out a sweet little shuffle, and I showed ’em all how it’s done.

Yutzi always calls me “buzzboy” when I get like this.  Ah, Yutz, you should’ve been there!

Anyway, I don’t remember much after that.  I might have cut a little too much rug for their tastes.  In fact, I may very well have pink elephant-ed this whole thing, it’s just too good to be true!  Guess I’ll find out for sure next time I want a burger.

Manhattan Inn, 632 Manhattan Ave., Brooklyn, NY

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